Dan­ger­ous er­ror­ists

Pasatiempo - - Moving Images - Jen­nifer Levin I For The New Mex­i­can

Four Lions, com­edy/drama, rated R, The Screen, 3.5 chiles In Four Lions, a dis­parate gag­gle of as­pir­ing Mus­lim ter­ror­ists liv­ing in Bri­tain have one thing in com­mon: un­hap­pi­ness with their lot in life, in­ten­si­fied by a big dose of gen­eral in­ep­ti­tude. Each has his own rea­son for mem­ber­ship in this par­tic­u­lar broth­er­hood, and to­gether they are hi­lar­i­ous, a comic tour-de-force, 2010’s fun­ni­est cin­e­matic ter­ror­ists, un­til they blow peo­ple up.

The mak­ers of this dark com­edy, in­clud­ing di­rec­tor Christo­pher Mor­ris, are in full con­trol of their tone, and it would be as un­wise to as­sume the film is a com­edy about funny, vi­o­lent Mus­lims as it would be to as­sume it’s a skew­er­ing of anti-Mus­lim fear and bias. Though the Sun­dance hit has been com­pared to This Is Spinal Tap and re­ferred to as though it is a mock­u­men­tary, Four Lions is a dra­matic nar­ra­tive with just enough of the ridicu­lous and the sub­lime to ex­pose the dan­ger in the ar­gu­ments around ter­ror­ism and the wide­spread as­sump­tions about Mus­lims around the world, re­gard­less of in­di­vid­ual Mus­lims’ per­sonal stances on the mat­ter of ji­had and/or their level of knowl­edge of and af­fec­tion for their own re­li­gion. For at least a few of the pro­tag­o­nists, sup­port for ji­had is com­pa­ra­ble to the street cred one might gain in Amer­ica by join­ing a gang; there are ref­er­ences to rapper Tu­pac and de­bates about who among them is “most al-Qaida.” Barry (Nigel Lind­say), a lower-class Brit and Mus­lim con­vert, be­lieves he is the most al-Qaida. He also thinks a mosque would make a good ter­ror­ism tar­get be­cause it would rad­i­cal­ize the mod­er­ate Mus­lims into ji­had — a the­ory con­tain­ing more than a dash of the race-war phi­los­o­phy that un­der­pinned the Man­son Fam­ily mur­ders. Omar

Ex­plo­sive am­bi­tion: from left, Nigel Lind­say, Kay­van No­vak, and Ar­sher Ali

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